Book bash a bust

Some fault event's organization

Some fault event's organization

November 13, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Books, books everywhere, but nary a buyer in sight.

Some of the authors who set up displays of books at the first Apple Valley Book Festival in Martinsburg ended up hauling almost as many books home as they had brought with them to the festival.

By Saturday afternoon - as authors who had set up in the Roundhouse were being encouraged to pack up and start leaving - Amey Tippett had sold just six copies of her debut novel, "Alison's Journey."

Because there was no heat in the Roundhouse Center, authors were given the chance to move their displays to downtown businesses, but Tippett declined the offer, leery of having someone else break down and move her display.


Plus, she said, it wasn't until Saturday morning, the second and last day of the festival, that authors were told they could relocate to a downtown shop.

"There definitely could've been better communication with the authors," said Tippett, 32, of Columbus, Ohio. "We often didn't know what was going on."

To add to her woes, she had paid to stay in a hotel.

"I didn't even break even," Tippett said.

She offered some advice should the event be held again next year: "Have heat and bathroom facilities."

A better-organized event has the potential to be a success, Tippett said.

"I think it could be great," she said.

Ed Mayhew of Winchester, Va., decided to move his display from the Roundhouse to Crim de la Crim, an antiques store on Queen Street.

"The Roundhouse was a little cold and the (foot) traffic was a little sparse," Mayhew said.

Author of "Fitter for Life" and "Fitter After 50," Mayhew's books deal with how to stay in shape while growing older. He interviewed older people, from 40 to 93 years old, who had inspiring stories, including that of a woman who ran a marathon to celebrate her 80th birthday.

Although he sold only a handful of his books, Mayhew said he enjoyed the speakers at the event and thought the food was "great."

He encouraged the event's organizers to have future festivals in a more central location, such as a mall, so people could walk around in one place and meet all of the writers.

Not all of the authors were disappointed with the way the festival was organized, including longtime friends Hattie Halsey of Columbia, S.C., and Deborah Rosenkrans of Cecil County, Md.

The two women, who have been friends since they were seventh-graders, collaborated on a romantic pirate trilogy and other novels.

They wrote the books under the pseudonym C.C. Colee.

"It was a lot of fun," Halsey said of the festival. "We always make it into an adventure."

The women moved their display, including a collection of pirate items, from the Roundhouse to the antique store Yesteryears on Queen Street.

Their trilogy - "RB: The Widow Maker," "RB: The Enchantress" and "RB: The Game" - centers on a young woman who flees England on a ship bound for Africa. After the ship is attacked by pirates, she learns to survive and eventually becomes a buccaneer herself, Halsey said.

The pair e-mail their work back and forth, with each focusing on certain characters.

Jeff Redding, owner of Yesteryears, said he was thrilled to be able to host not only Halsey and Rosenkrans, but also Victor J. Banis, who wrote gay pulp novels in the 1950s and 1960s.

"I knew that he would be a big draw," Redding said.

Hosting the authors caused Redding to have one of his more successful days of business since opening the shop a little more than a year ago.

"I've gotten a lot of exposure and I'm getting a lot of sales," Redding said. "I'm ecstatic."

Redding said he would be more than willing to host authors in his shop again next year.

"I'm sorry it was cold down at the Roundhouse, but for me, it worked out," he said.rg, W.Va., as part of the Apple Valley Book Festival.

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